Dining Out: Caribbean Cuisine


A combination of African and Spanish cooking, spices and fruits are its signature.

Common Ingredients:

Variety of seafood, spicy meats, tropical fruits, hot peppers, and root vegetables.
Hidden Dangers:
  • Rice and beans—If it’s plain and basic, that’s fine. But this is often coated in high-fat coconut milk.
  • Callaloo dishes usually contain salt pork and coconut milk.

Healthy Finds:
  • Jerk Chicken—smoked and seasoned with peppers, and served with a number of tropical fruits.
  • Stew Peas & Rice—pork or beef with kidney beans over rice. Often comes with flour dumplings called spinners.
  • Escoveitch Fish—marinated with vegetables, peppers and vinegar, and served over rice with plantains and fruit chutney.

The Big Tip:

Scotch bonnet peppers should throw up a red flag. Unless you LOVE the hottest of hot peppers, your mouth may regret it!

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Member Comments

Thanks! Report
Jerk chicken is a family favorite! Report
Good to know. Thanks Report
Good article. Report

I love hot food, after living in NE Thailand and Laos nothing is too hot. I grow Bhut peppers and Habanero but Jalapeno lots better tasting when stir fried in chix broth, so I mix them all up. My hot sauce is made from this combo as is my pepper, along with cayenne for color. Scotch bonnets are ok if I can find them but really don't have substance like immature birds-eye and jalapeno. These combined with chunks of chix, garlic and some holy basil and nuoc-nam (fish sauce) onion or better yet shallots and some paleo powder spice make a passable guai bi ghaprow. Eaten over brown rice it's good.
It's good that there is an article on Caribbean food!

At the same time, there is such a wide range of ethnic influences and local food variations from island to island that there is no way to effectively sum up "Caribbean food" in a single article.

This particular article, for example, is really describing Jamaican food. Jerk chicken, spinners, and even the stewed beef and beans over rice are all characteristicall
y Jamaican.

Very different foods, such as flying fish and coocoo from Barbados, roti, callaloo and pelau from Trinidad, and pepperpot from Guyana are major Caribbean food finds, but they aren't reflected here. Even the description of the cultural influences reflects Jamaican culture, which is less diverse than other parts of the Caribbean. Guyana and Trinidad, for example, have large East Indian populations and significant cultural influences from India, especially in the kitchen. Report
This article must not include Cuban food in the Caribbean because it is generally not spicy. My husband is from Cuba so we eat it frequently especially with his family. Yummy!
I just realised--callalo
o = T&T gumbo LOL! Report
In Jamaica "callaloo" is a green leafy veg. In Trinidad "callaloo" is a spicy stew made with that green leafy veg or dasheen (taro) greens, okra and seafood or meat. This can cause some confusion. The green leafy veg like all green leafy veg is low in calories and quite good for you. Report
I had callaloo and cabbage for breakfast every morning when we went to Jamaica. There was no salt pork in it and it seemed to have been steamed and sauteed. Now, that was the only time I ever had callaloo (which is delicious, by the way). So, one time is not a good measure of how a dish is traditionally prepared. Report
Callaloo dishes is not necessarily with salt pork nor cooked in coconut milk. Jamaicans have this as a main dish sometimes with codfish on the side. Report
Great article. I will stay with FRUIT and FISH. Report
We spent two weeks in Barbados, and I would recommend FISH. They have all kinds, and often you can order grilled, poached, etc. Seldom will you find it battered or crumbed, and you can avoid the fried stuff (!) on most menus. The fruit is out of this world, every type you can think of, and most of it fresh as can be. Report
Advice just in time for my upcoming vacation to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. Good to know what to avoid! Report
Good to know I don't have to give up going to some of my fave restauratns Report